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Countdown to Christmas - Belfast lights switch-on and Continental Market's return

Published 26/10/2016

Christmas lights switch-on coincides with the opening of the Belfast Christmas Continental Market
Christmas lights switch-on coincides with the opening of the Belfast Christmas Continental Market
Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon with cartoon characters Ben and Holly
Santa talks to the crowd
Actress Bronagh Waugh watches the lights switch on
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

The countdown is on until Christmas arrives in Belfast - with the city's lights being switched on and the return of the ever-popular Continental Market.

The Lord Mayor will switch on the Christmas lights on Saturday November 19.

He will be helped by Lily of Lily’s Driftwood Bay and the Clangers.

Lily will join Small and Tiny from the Clangers and a choir from Springfield Primary School on stage from 6.30pm to 7.15pm.

Joining the festive line-up are the Cool FM Breakfast team – Pete Snodden, Rebecca McKinney and Paulo Ross – who will host the event.

Lord Mayor Alderman Brian Kingston said: “We have such a great line-up of family entertainment this year and it promises to be a great night for everyone to enjoy the official start to Christmas. As the Belfast Christmas Market opens at 12 noon on the same day, Saturday 19 November will be a great day out in Belfast for the young and the young at heart.”

Cool FM's Pete Snodden said: “We’re delighted to be kick starting the festive season with Belfast City Council’s Christmas Lights Switch-on. Christmas is a magical time and we’re looking forward to a night of family fun with special guests and, of course, the main man himself - Santa.”

On the same day the Christmas Market will open in the grounds of City Hall at 12pm.

It will be there from Saturday November 19 until Thursday December 22 where crowds from near and far will flock.

Opening hours:

Arenacross Freestyle Motocross riders Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Arran Powley dropped in to the Belfast Odyssey Arena on Wednesday dressed as Santa and his two elves
Arenacross Freestyle Motocross riders Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Arran Powley dropped in to the Belfast Odyssey Arena on Wednesday dressed as Santa and his two elves
Arenacross Freestyle Motocross riders Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Arran Powley dropped in to the Belfast Odyssey Arena on Wednesday dressed as Santa and his two elves
Arenacross Freestyle Motocross riders Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Arran Powley dropped in to the Belfast Odyssey Arena on Wednesday dressed as Santa and his two elves
Arenacross Freestyle Motocross riders Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Arran Powley dropped in to the Belfast Odyssey Arena on Wednesday dressed as Santa and his two elves
Arenacross Freestyle Motocross riders Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Arran Powley dropped in to the Belfast Odyssey Arena on Wednesday dressed as Santa and his two elves
Arenacross Freestyle Motocross riders Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Arran Powley dropped in to the Belfast Odyssey Arena on Wednesday dressed as Santa and his two elves
FLASHBACK: The turning on of Belfast's Christmas lights last month
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Lord Mayor Mirtn î Muilleoir with Peppa Pig and her little brother George Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Lord Mayor Mirtn î Muilleoir with Peppa Pig and her little brother George Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Channel 5's Milkshake kids' TV presenters Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Local Belfast girl Kirstin Aston performs at the city Hall Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. May McFettridge with Cinderella. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 General view of the Christmas Market run by Belfast City Council located in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 General view of the Christmas Market run by Belfast City Council located in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 General view of the Christmas Market run by Belfast City Council located in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 General view of the Christmas Market run by Belfast City Council located in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 General view of the Christmas Market run by Belfast City Council located in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 General view of the Christmas Market run by Belfast City Council located in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 General view of the Christmas Market run by Belfast City Council located in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Members of the public watch the Christmas Tree switch on. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Jeff Anderson (star of ITVÕs Jesus Christ Superstar) performs Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Northern Ireland- 16th November 2013 Mandatory Credit - Picture - Matt Mackey/Presseye.com Belfast Christmas Market 16/11/13
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Members of the public watch the Christmas Tree switch on. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Jeff Anderson (star of ITVÕs Jesus Christ Superstar) performs Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Jeff Anderson (star of ITVÕs Jesus Christ Superstar) performs Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Channel 5's Milkshake kids' TV presenters Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 16th November 2013 Christmas Lights Switch-on 2013 at Belfast City Hall. Belfast Operatic Society perform. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Monday to Wednesday 10am-8pm

Thursday to Saturday 10am-10pm

Sunday 1pm - 6pm

This year there will be 20 additional stalls located at the front of City Hall outside the main entrance gates featuring food and craft producers to celebrate Northern Ireland's Year of Food and Drink 2016.

Santa’s post box will once again be at his grotto within the Market for children to post letters to the North Pole with a reply for those who add a return address until December 19.

The free tickets for the event will be available at Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, 9 Donegall Square North from 9.30am on Thursday 3 November.

Tickets are limited to a maximum of four per person and can be collected in person or booked online at www.visit-belfast.com.

Tickets booked online must be collected by 5pm on Thursday November 17.

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